Four questions for Lacy Garden Intern

August 2, 2022

Most of us have some skill in growing something green: an indoor succulent, a few bushes around the house, or a tomato plant in the backyard. But what about growing thousands of pounds of produce? From May through October, volunteers at the Lacy Garden plant, grow and harvest produce for the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. The garden contains a wide variety of food, from lettuce to sweet corn. Becks Gatewood is the current, and first, intern at the Lacy Garden! She shares how she got involved, what she does and her experience so far.

Three people smiling to the camera standing in Lacy Garden. They are picking spinach from raised beds and behind them are rows of lettuce and potato plants. It is a bright summer day.

Becks and two volunteers in Lacy Garden. They are picking spinach from raised beds and behind them are rows of lettuce and potato plants.

1. How did you get involved at the Lacy Garden?

I saw the job posting on Indeed. I researched Madison Area Food Pantry Gardens and was really interested in what they were doing! I specifically work for the Lacy Garden, but have helped at the Forward Garden (another MAFPG garden) event. I also help at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.

2. What do you do as the Lacy Garden Intern?

As an intern, I help lead special sessions (school groups, professional work groups, etc), work on special projects (environmentally friendly produce bags, pollinator garden, volunteer-appreciation event planning, information storing), help out with regular volunteer sessions, work at the food pantry and overall help out where I am needed! It’s been cool to be involved in all parts of the work: planting, growing and distributing food.

A shopping cart full of red bell peppers and another cart full of lettuce/cabbage.

A sample of produce harvested from Lacy Garden during past seasons. All of the produce grown comes to our food pantry for distribution.

3. How has the experience been so far?

The experience has been really cool — to meet people who are choosing to do this and choosing to be productive with their time doing something that matters to them and matters to others. It’s been a learning curve! I used to work at a garden center, and plants behave so much differently when they are in the field. I feel lucky to work at the food pantry as well to see the whole process from the seedlings being watered to distribution. It’s genuinely been overwhelmingly positive. Thank you to everyone who makes up this garden team and everyone I’ve interacted with at the pantry. Being a part of St. Vincent de Paul has taught me about Catholic Social Teaching and service. It’s service that recognizes the dignity in every person.

4. Do you have any goals for the summer?

A closeup photo of a bin of tomatoes.

A bountiful harvest of tomatoes at our food pantry from the Lacy Garden.

With so many volunteers, we’re working to compile all of the knowledge that exists only in some specific heads in a way that a lot of people can access it. We’re also hoping to do a volunteer-appreciation event to honor the time our volunteers have dedicated to the garden. This place is strong because of the community that is involved in it.

Looking to grow your involvement in SVdP this summer?Volunteer at Lacy Garden or give a gift to support our Food Pantry.